Opinion  

A new generation is ready to energise the industry

Ben Goss

Ben Goss

Younger clients will also require a different set of services. Retirement is less of a focus, but this generation will need help with wealth accumulation, inheritance and cash flow planning. Advisers will need to get the risk assessment right for a group with very different attitudes and needs from their core client base. 

That brings us to the third big takeaway: the expectations of this younger group. If the relationship between the demographic of the adviser and that of the client base holds out, advisers in their early 30s taking on more responsibility could be speaking to clients as young as their early 20s. This group has never known life without the internet.

For this generation, digital banks such as Monzo are setting a new bar for accessibility, transparency and engagement – a radical shift from a few decades ago, when the best most could hope for was a paper statement through the door once a month. Digital natives will look for these same standards from their financial planning. 

That does not mean this group will do it all themselves. My bet is this is one area where they will look a lot like their parents. For most people, of any age, long-term financial planning is not something they are particularly engaged with. But if they are to engage, the younger generation of clients will need an approach that is transparent and accessible, with financial planning technology that can help to bring a far-off future to life. 

This shift to a more technology-driven way of engaging with clients is a challenge for advisers, but many are already rising to it – and the pandemic has only accelerated the trend.

A survey conducted by Dynamic Planner found that more than 50 per cent of the companies that won the most new business during the pandemic used video calls for the discovery meeting.

Many exposed much more of the process to their clients – by enabling clients to complete their own risk profiling using apps, for example. In a time when the old approaches simply were not available, these high-achieving companies pivoted quickly to use technology to create connection. 

The productivity dividend and the client experience dividend that resulted from this shift will not go away. It will be down to the new generation of practice principals to take the lessons of the pandemic and build on them.

Ahead of us lies a huge challenge – and a huge opportunity. The needs of current clients are complex, new clients will bring difficulties of their own, and balancing the two will not be easy.